A Nixa murder suspect remains in the Christian County Jail and will be represented by a public defender for his pretrial proceedings.
Todd D. Blankenship, 46, is charged with first degree murder and armed criminal action in connection to the July 18 death of a woman at a home on South Timber Ridge Drive in Nixa.
Police were dispatched at roughly 10 p.m. July 18, to check the well-being of a person at the home. When police arrived at the scene, they found a “non-responsive” woman inside the home. A person of interest, now identified as Blankenship, arrived at the house and was taken into custody for questioning.
The police do not plan to release further details, such as the woman’s name or how she died. However, she has since been identified as Blankenship’s wife, Staci Whiteley.
Whiteley, 46, was a mother to four children, according to her obituary. She was a graduate of Nixa High School who worked for Greenlawn Funeral Home before recently deciding to pursue work as a dental assistant.
Whiteley was reportedly shot twice, and the scene at her Nixa home showed signs of a struggle, according to court documents.
Blankenship appeared before Associate Circuit Judge Doug Bacon in Ozark at a hearing on the afternoon of July 23. Blankenship submitted an application to be represented by the Missouri State Public Defender.
Clad in a navy blue Christian County Jail uniform with a chain around his waist, orange sandals on his feet and pink handcuffs around his wrists, Blankenship spoke quietly with public defense attorney Steven Kellogg while waiting for his hearing to start.
During the hearing, Judge Bacon told Blankenship that he would qualify for the public defender’s representation.
“They have a waiting list. You are in custody, so you will be placed at the top of the waiting list,” Bacon said.
Blankenship's Tuesday hearing took place at the same time his wife's funeral was happening at Greenlawn Funeral Home's south location in Springfield.
Blankenship will be held without bond until at least Aug. 6, when his next court hearing is scheduled.
Blankenship will also appear Aug. 6 on two other outstanding cases. He is charged with third degree domestic assault, a felony, in one case and fourth degree domestic assault, a misdemeanor, in another case filed July 8 — 10 days before Whiteley died.
Blankenship is accused of assaulting Whiteley in April in Nixa, in June in Nebraska and in July in Nixa. Whiteley reportedly sought an order of protection against Blankenship in June.